Pret-a-Reporter

90 Days of Summer: Staying at Home

From Malibu to the Hamptons, an insider's guide to hot parties, clothes, cocktails, even cupcakes.

BEST Home Design and Cookbooks

Santa Monica-based designer Tim Clarke's new Coastal Modern: Sophisticated Homes Inspired by the Ocean (Random House, $50) sums up his 14 years creating interiors for Angelenos such as Ben Stiller, Portia de Rossi, Sally Field and Matthew Perry. The 250 photos include a look at the pool house of producer Mark Gordon (above), who says: "Tim Clarke gets it right every time. His style is simple and sleek with a sense of effortless ease."

► BEST Cookbooks for Summer Entertaining

Martha's American Food by Martha Stewart, Clarkson Potter, $40: America's home entertaining queen gathers some of her favorite classic American dishes such as chicken pot pie and fish tacos, along with the stories behind these favorites and essays on the food culture of each region of the country.

Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking by Andoni Luis Aduriz, Phaidon, $49.95: From the El Bulli-trained chef at Northern Spain's famed avant-garde Mugaritz comes this cookbook-cum- coffee tabler featuring thematic chapters on the history of the restaurant, interspersed with 70 recipes.

Susan Feniger's Street Food by Susan Feniger, Clarkson Potter, $27.50: The chef behind L.A.'s Street and co-owner of Santa Monica's Border Grill offers recipes inspired by her world travels, including artichokes with lemon za'atar and Thai drunken shrimp. Also included are short essays on her favorite destinations such as Ho Chi Minh City and Bezirgan, Turkey.

BEST Garden Trends

Blueberries are showing up in gardens everywhere thanks to varieties that need less winter chill to produce, according to Grow Outdoor Design's Ryan Gates (wife of TV director/producer Tucker Gates) and Joel Lichtenwalter. The duo also see clients requesting bocce courts and the return of those shallow areas of pools known as baja shelves. "They are great for putting a lounge chair in the pool and barely covering yourself with water," says Lichtenwalter, who has installed one for Rachel Griffiths and her artist husband, Andy Taylor.

BEST Less Guilty Pleasure

Nobody feels comfortable with too many guilty pleasures during bikini season -- but there are less guilty ones to be had. This is L.A., after all. Caterer and party planner Jeffrey Best of Best Events, which does everything from Sundance events to The Weinstein Co. Oscar party, recommends grilled peaches with balsamic or bite-sized BabyCakes cupcakes (low cal if you only eat one mini cupcake; gluten-free by request). Lulu Powers, who has cooked for Madonna and Will Smith, recommends fruit with a squeeze of lime and julienned mint. And Joan's on Third again will stock those yummy Bindi sorbets (in real fruit shells; the coconut, orange and lemon are staples, but new flavors this summer include tangerine and peach). Nutritionist Carrie Latt Wiatt of Diet Designs recommends her low-calorie Mango Cobbler, made without saturated fats.

► BEST Wines

Rosé

Commanderie de Peyrassol $19: Jasper Dickson at Silver Lake Wine (2395 Glendale Blvd., #A) says his favorite rosé is this light, crisp find from Provence. "It is a great wine with a summer meal," he says.

Whispering Angel $22: Mario Moya of Wally's Wine (2107 Westwood Blvd.) recommends this wine, with flavors of dried cherry, licorice, cream and spice, from Chateau d'Esclans de Provence, which he claims is as good as famed rosé Domaine Ott, which costs twice as much.

Petale de Rosé $14.99 Du Vin (540 N. San Vicente Blvd.) owner Rene Averseng recommends this wine, a favorite on the French Riviera, with notes of lavender and rosemary.

Effervescent White

Xarmant $17.50 For a more esoteric wine, Dickson is a fan of this selection from Txakoli, Spain, part of the Basque country. It has a slight effervescence and is more comparable to Portuguese Vinho Verde than champagne.

Sauvignon Blanc

Cotat Sancerre $55 For a crisp white, Moya proffers this Sauvignon Blanc, an old-style Sancerre not at all like most others; it's thick, rich and full-flavored.

 

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